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Transport for Wales

As the name suggests, Transport for Wales operates the vast majority of rail services in and around Wales, as well as certain services in England.

Transport for Wales Rail is a rail operator that runs services throughout Wales and around the Welsh border. It’s overseen by Transport for Wales, which is owned by the Welsh Government and oversees all modes of public transport in Wales. The rail division has 224 trains which serve a variety of stations, including 248 that they manage themselves.

You can buy cheaper Advance tickets for a variety of routes operated by Transport for Wales, including on trains between Manchester, North Wales and South Wales. These are now available up to five minutes before departure on some services.

On board services


Free WiFi is available on all Transport for Wales services.


On long-distance services such as Manchester to Cardiff/Swansea, Aberystwyth to Birmingham International and Cardiff Central to Holyhead, you’ll need to make a reservation. It also isn’t possible to bring non-folding bikes on Valley Lines services during peak hours. There’s more information in our dedicated guide to travelling with bikes.

Special Assistance

You can find out more about Passenger Assist on our dedicated page.

Standard Class

Transport for Wales operates a wide variety of different types of train. On services in West Wales, as well as on the Heart of Wales Line from Swansea to Shrewsbury, you can expect a single-carriage Sprinter . The Express Sprinter fleet runs on the Cambrian Coast Line (Aberystwyth and Pwllheli to Birmingham) as well as on other long-distance services.

You’ll find a variety of brand-new Class 197 and Mark 4 trains on the routes between North and South Wales, as well as Manchester and North/South Wales.

Can I upgrade to First Class?

Certain services operated by Transport for Wales offer First Class. Usually, every other train that departs Manchester for Cardiff will have it. In addition to this, some services between Holyhead and Cardiff also offer First Class.

These services are well-known for their dining options. You can view the lunch and dinner menu here.

Information about routes

  • Holyhead to Cardiff Central
  • Manchester Piccadilly to Cardiff Central and Swansea
  • Cardiff Central to Milford Haven, Pembroke Dock and Fishguard Harbour
  • Shrewsbury to Swansea (via Llandrindod Wells)
  • Crewe to Shrewsbury
  • Birmingham International to Aberystwyth and Pwllheli
  • Birmingham International to Holyhead
  • Llandudno to Manchester Airport
  • Llandudno to Blaenau Ffestiniog
  • Bidston to Wrexham Central
  • Chester to Crewe
  • Liverpool Lime Street to Wrexham General (via Runcorn).

They also operate an extensive network of lines around the Cardiff Valleys, which serve destinations such as Barry, Merthyr Tydfil, Aberdare, Rhymney, Treherbert, Ebbw Vale and Maesteg.